The New Age Movement is actually a modern revival of ancient religious (pagan) practices. The original source is found in Genesis 3:1-5, expressed in Satan’s temptation of man. The original lie had man fall from his pure estate; Satan brought doubt of God’s word, His authority and benevolent rule to man Gen.3. He disputed that death would occur from disobedience to Gods decrees and claimed that if they acquired what god said not to, they could be enlightened and be “like God” their creator. The original lie echoes through time to today, the modern Gnostic movement is yearning to repeat history, to their own demise. By gaining knowledge of both good and evil they had something that God was protecting them from, evil being sin. The immediate affect is shame and guilt which we all have today. The fig leaves did not cover Adam and eve and today they have no covering either.
Many of the occult practices and beliefs revived by the modern NAM were a part of very early pagan cultures. Many practices common to the NAM such as witchcraft, sorcery, spiritism (contacting spirits from the other worlds), divination, astrology (clairvoyance; seeing the future), necromancy (consulting the dead) mediums (channeling) all of these and more are clearly and strongly condemned in Scripture (Deut. 18: 9-17; Lev.19, Isaiah 47: 9-15). These and other occultic practices were practiced by the ancient tribes and mystery religions of the Chaldeans, Egyptians, and the Babylonian culture. Horoscopes, palm reading, crystal ball, water witching, pendulum, divining rod, tarot cards, tea leave reading, numerology, palmistry, Ouiji board and the study of animal entrails have given way to more modern updated names but the practices are still the same. Only the names have changed such as channeling or spirit guides is the practice of ancient mediums and spiritism. These have been used by shamans, witchdoctors and mystics in the ancient world. God has always warned his people not to participate in this.
More recently in more modern times in America by Emanuel Swedenborg (mid 1700’s) and Theosophy introduced by Madame Helena Blavatsky (mid to late 1800’s) also Annie Besant . Rudolf Steiner and Alice Bailey had a strong influence. The decade of the sixties witnessed a revival of Eastern mysticism in America as traditional values were discarded and replaced by the new (old) ways. Today its premier speaker would be Benjamin Creme who is trying to introduce the new age “wanna be” Christ.
In the mid eighties, Shirley MacLaine’s books and TV mini-series gave the NAM more exposure and prominence. J.Z. Knight and Lazarus as well as Mafu were given promos on Oprah Winfrey as well as other TV programs. Various research polls have indicated a significant shift has been occurring in the West, both in the beliefs and practices of the New Age world-view. 60 million American believe in psychic powers and have had some type of experience with the paranormal. For example, 36% of Americans believe that astrology is scientific, after all it’s in almost all the newspapers. 25% now accept reincarnation. Near-death experiences have been popularized, therapeutic touch, channeling, Meditation, UFOS, extra terrestrials, space brothers, ascended masters, are all part of the cultures consciousness because of TV talk shows and movies. Psychic readings on ones credit card had become the #1 info-mercial on TV. America is fascinated with the occult.
The movement has their own vocabulary and even start their own communities. They have made their services known nationwide by having a new age yellow pages, a US guide to consciousness raising services, products and organizations. 52 publishing houses had formed the New Age publishing and retail alliance. Their slogan to start was a consciousness whose time has come. Occult and metaphysical books are in and big business. Snowboarding to Nirvana by author and occult promoter Fred Lenz made it to the NY times bestseller list. This has become more accepted as literally our culture begs for the unusual to the bizarre for entertainment, even in books.
Financial success: Forbes magazine in June of 1987 reported the new age market increased to 3.43 billion dollars. It has become big business. New age music brings in well over a hundred million a year, new age jewelry over 5 million, crystals are sold from 10.00 to 100.00 dollars and some up to 10,000 dollars.
New Age groups are quite eclectic; drawing from several different sources but one of the more prominent unifying themes of the NAM is their experiences which bind them together. Absolute truth is replaced by subjective experiences. All is relative and interpreted by each individual.
The term “New Age” Is an informal term which teaches that this earth is on the verge of an evolutionary transition from the Piscean Age to the Aquarian Age a new spirituality. With it comes harmony of all things, the golden age talked about from all religions. That those who have participated in the higher consciousness revolution have already made a transition from homo-sapien to homo-Noeticus, and soon to homo Christos. This is a spiritual evolution where man discovers himself as God, for he consists of and is the creator of “the forces.” Man needs only to awaken to this fact. The only discontinuity between man and “God” is our ignorance of the unlimited potential already in us.
Even though many New Age adherents describe “God” in personal terms, ultimately, “God” is an impersonal life force, consciousness or energy (M. Ferguson, Aquarian Conspiracy. p. 382; Shakti Gawain, Living In the Light, pp. 7-8).
Man is himself God, for he consists of and is the creator of “the forces.” Man needs only to awaken to this fact. The only discontinuity between man and “God” is our Ignorance of the unlimited potential in us already. Man creates his own reality. Absolute truth is replaced by subjective experiences.
The cosmology (the nature of the world and universe) of the NAM is pantheistic, which means that everything that exists is of one essence, and that one essence is God. Everything is expressed in a different form of that same essence (energy, consciousness, power, love. force). So all the universe is in the state of God.
(1) Jesus was not and is not the only Christ, nor is he God.
Jesus was a man who evolved spiritually to the state of “the Christ” being. “The Christ” is an actual state of ultimate essence. Everyone’s true being is “the Christ” and each person’s goal is to come to that self-realization (A Course in Miracles, Vol. 3, pp. 83-4). So to the New Ager, Jesus the Christ, is one of Many ascended masters – a wayshower, whose function is to awaken humanity and Illumine the Path. Many even reinvent the historical Jesus by claiming that He traveled to India and learned the New Age doctrines there during His “silent years” (Shirley MacLaine, Out on a Limb, pp. 233-34).
(2) The most prominent theme held in common in the NAM is their experiences which unifies them together. “God” is impersonal, cosmic, a God of energy of forces.
3) Man’s Destiny-Since Man is intrinsically divine and perfect, his only real problem is Ignorance of that fact. Man has a Perception of finiteness, which is in reality an illusion (Ken Keyes, Jr., Handbook to Higher Consciousness, pp. 125-29). Salvation in the New Age is for man to become enlightened through experiential knowledge (gnosis). Man should seek and accept his spiritual instruction and direction from spirit guides. New Age groups offer various Occultic techniques to enable individuals, and ultimately the world, to evolve into this oneness (unitive) consciousness (James Redfield, The Celestine Prophecy: An Experimental Guide, pp. 243-60). These techniques May Include altered states of consciousness (often transcendental meditation), yoga, crystals, channeling (spirit guides), psychics, past life therapy, acupuncture, etc.
(4) All religions and religious teachings lead to the same goal. All are equally of merit. New Age groups are eclectic, they draw from numerous different sources as long as it is agreeable to their world view.
(5) The “ancient wisdom” of Babylon, Egypt and Greece not the Bible-is the basis of all Truth. No one religion has the truth. One learns by experience, he receives a special gnosis leading him on his own path. Barbara Marx Hubbard believes we are experiencing a new Pentecost.
(6) Sin and evil do not exist. Peace and love are the ultimate realities. Man is not sinful but is a potential God since his true essence is divine and perfect. Yet Paul said that in him dwelled nothing good. And Jesus’ mission was to deal with the sin factor not give us a higher consciousness
There are universal beliefs among New Ager’s that are held in common. The Hindu concept of reincarnation which teaches that after death souls comes back in another body to continue their spiritual lessons of evolvement back to the source which is God. New Ager’s consistently misrepresent church history, they argue without any verifiable proof that the early church suppressed the teaching of reincarnation and censored its teaching at the council of Nicea. Doctrines of Christianity are often distorted using Scripture indiscriminately to support their occult ideas by finding separate words or phrases to make it say what they would like it too.
A CHRISTIANS RESPONSE
Individual followers of New Age philosophies are at various stages of experimentation and different levels of its teachings. They may not belong to a particular group but are picking up what they like from what they read or hear. In the NAM, truth is relative to the individual so they are not unanimous in their opinions, ask two New Ager’s a question and you will probably get a different answer from each. The only absolute in the New Age is that there are no absolutes. We must approach New Ager’s as individuals. Ask New Ager’s lots of questions. What religious background did they come from, if any? What happened in their lives that began their search and path they are now on? What books, experiences, people or ideas were the most influential and most important to them? The answer should give you a good direction as to where to focus your attention on.
What needs to be disproved is relativism and their acceptance of inaccurate historical events. They need to see the inconsistencies of living out their world-view and seeing that it is not logical, a clarification of the real God, Jesus, and gospel, contrasted to their own beliefs.
We don’t dispute that they are being given information, knowledge, and powers, but we are disputing the sources it is coming from. Matt 24:24; Jer.14:14. What is their source of truth? If truth is relative then it really does not matter what they believe either.
We must be able to convince them of these facts from the scriptures and logic, debating from our own opinions will be argumentative and lead nowhere. It must be the word of God explained and proven so that it may be received (2 Tim .2:24-26 Rom.3:23-24, Hebrews 4:12.). First show the bible as historically, prophetically accurate unlike any other book. Intercessory prayer is absolutely necessity. The battle for their soul accomplished through God’s grace, by our intervening in their behalf. Pray in warfare as though you’re fighting for their soul, because you are.
If we approach them in this way we will be obedient. Having faith and trusting that the Lord will do the work His way. Remember we don’t battle against flesh and blood. Isaiah 55:8-9 &11; 2 Tim 4:2-5; 2 Peter 3:17-18.
The following is an informative sermon by the late Dr. Walter Martin:
If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior you can receive Him into your heart and He can deliver you from darkness and sin and have your name written in His Book of Life.
If you are sincere you can say this simple prayer to the Father (it doesn’t have to be word for word):
“God, I recognize that I have not lived my life for You up until now. I have been living for myself and that is wrong. Please forgive me of all of my sins just as I forgive others. I need You in my life; I want You in my life. I acknowledge the completed work of Your only begotten Son Jesus Christ in giving His life for me on the cross, I believe in my heart Jesus is Lord and was raised from the dead and I long to receive the forgiveness you have made freely available to me through this sacrifice. Come into my life now, Lord. Take up residence in my heart and be my king, my Lord, and my Savior. From this day forward, I will no longer be controlled by sin, or the desire to please myself, but I will follow You all the days of my life. Those days are in Your hands. I ask this in the Lord and GOD Jesus’ precious and holy name. Amen.”